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Friday August 18, 2017
Alternative Medicine: Energy Medicine
Energy medicine

Energy medicine consists of two components, energy fields in and around the body, as well as external energy sources that help the body's healing process. In order to understand both components more clearly, we will examine the definition for each in addition to specific examples of treatment.



Biofield therapies are conducted by placing one's hands through the body's energy fields. Practitioners use their own energy to change the patient's energy field and ultimately promote healing. It should be noted at this point, however, that science has not proved that these energy fields exist. Examples of biofield therapies are:

  • Qigong is a form of moving meditation. According to The Qigong Institute, "the origin and practice of Qigong predate recorded history... It is a realization that energy controls our physiology and health...Practicing Qigong is as simple as doing the three intentful corrections (adjust the posture, breath, and mind)". Most people are aware of the most popular form called "Tai Chi". Used to control anxiety and stress,i t is also believed that it aids in the prevention of illness and assists in dealing with chronic illnesses.
  • Reiki is a form of Japanese therapy which aims to heal the spirit and consequently the body. The hands are typically placed near the body, and in some instances, they touch the body but ever so gently that it is much like a whisper to the touch. Each person is said to have a "life force energy" which keeps he/she alive. If the energy is too low, sickness occurs. Reiki is the combination of two words - Rei meaning "universal" and Ki meaning "live force energy".
  • Therapeutic Touch is being used more often with seniors, premature babies, and in cases where patients suffer from dementia. The human touch seems to help patients to alleviate anxiety and induces a more peaceful behavior. The concept behind the therapy is that practitioners use their own healing energy to help the patient.

Bioelectromagnetic therapies use electromagnetic fields which might include pulsed fields, magnetic fields, alternating-current or direct-current fields. Specifically, when electric current passes through a wire, it creates a magnetic field. The electricity stays inside the wire but the magnetic field moves outside. Since this field moves through the body, electric currents are created which heal the body and promote health. Dr. C. Andrew L. Bassett, a New York orthopedic surgeon, was instrumental in legitimizing the study of electromagnetic waves and healing.

  • Pulsed field therapies deliver electrical stimulation to nerves and is said to aid in healing fractures and osteoporosis.
  • Magnetic fields include the use of magnets. This is a very common type of therapy known by most people because it comes in the form of sleeping mattresses and pillows, computer chair pads, bracelets, shoe insoles, back supports, and blankets for animals such as dogs, horses and cats.
  • Alternating current therapy is electrical stimulation using kilohertz-frequency alternating current. The current may be delivered continuously or in bursts. It has been used to treat heart rhythm disorder.
  • Direct current therapy is being studied in the treatment of malignant tumors and myofascial pain syndrome. It is presently a standard procedure on many heart patients suffering from atrial fibrillation and is called electrical cardioversion.
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